Sight-singing technique / SAT 7-12-14 / Banker/philanthropist Solomon / 1950s-'70s defense acronym / Middle of Aeschylus tragedy with / Saint who is one of Fourteen Holy Helpers / Army equivalent of leading seaman / Onetime center for distribution of oranges /
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Constructor: Tim Croce and Alex Vratsanos
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: SPANG (45A: Squarely, informally) —
• • •
LIBATION BEARERS / ORESTES cross-reference, but that title is at least mildly arcane, so the pleasure one gets from solving it, if one gets any, comes more from that semi-smug feeling of being terribly well educated rather than from the answer's being inherently interesting or the clue's being particularly clever, well written, or funny. The other 15s are pretty nice, I'll admit, but most of what's crossing them is merely tolerable, and the cluing just wasn't very engaging. Puzzle has very little about it that is contemporary, and what there is feels quite trivial (here I'm thinking particularly of that clue on PATTI—18D: Stanger a.k.a. Bravo's "Millionaire Matchmaker").
The music stuff locked me out a bit (never can remember SOLFA (24D: Sight-singing technique), and had no clue ERATO was a classical music label), and I apparently have no idea what schnitzels are (CUTLETS). I know they were … some kind of meat, but that is all. But for the most part I had heard of the answers and could follow the clue logic—it just all felt a bit tepid. Your typical European rivers, your typical crosswordese answers in the places you'd typically find them, your DERAT, your SPANG (an answer that would've killed in 1830, but is perhaps less fresh today).
Outside the 15s, only "I'M IN AWE" struck me as at all interesting, though I very much liked the clue on WHEN, which it took me forever to understand, as I was thinking of a computer server (7D: "That's enough," to a server).
Had TUG ON for TUG AT, MAY I for CAN I, SAGO for TARO, LOAD for LADE, LENA for NEVA (man, even the mistakes this puzzle causes are trivial and boring). All in all, a sufficiently tough and doable puzzle, but one that I didn't particularly enjoy.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld